Yep, the Kangaroo on the left is photobombing my blog 🙂
The one on the right does not seem too amused.
I nearly missed updating this as I’ve been head down in the Trove online database of Australian archives. I didn’t know it existed before stumbling upon it in the State Library of WA’s blog. The Trove’s purpose is to allow you to “find and get over 382,781,884 Australian and online resources: books, images, historic newspapers, maps, music, archives and more.”
It was fascinating. I found that a great great grandfather of mine, one Thomas, back in the February of 1868, near Adelaide, South Australia, was renting a house out to Patrick Owen and his family. Turns out that Thomas and his neighbour Patrick didn’t see eye-to-eye and “all of a sudden” the house burnt down. There was a lot of debate as to whether it had actually been burnt down by some fire ashes thrown out or whether it was a case of a bit of bully boy tactics from the Landlord. Thomas’ defence seems to have been that the house wasn’t insured. As far as I can figure out, that was as far as his defence went. Seems he thought it obvious that with no insurance he wouldn’t have burnt his own property down, even if he was renting to someone he didn’t like. The court and Jury heard opposing stories from a number of good citizens (South Australia was a convict-free settlement) and eventually returned the following:
That the Jury assembled are unable to point to the precise origin of the fire which burnt down Patrick Owen’s house in Baker‘s Gully on February 26, but consider it not improbable that the fire was caused by some wood ashes thrown out in the early part of the day ; and the Jury strongly advise that the custom of throwing out ashes on the bare ground about the house should be abandoned, and each householder provide himself with an ash-pit sunk a few feet below the surface of the ground,for the purpose of keeping the same in one spot securely.
With verdict returned, great great grandfather was free to go. There is no mention of what happened poor old Patrick and his family.
Bearing that in mind I’m quietly grateful that the most my “neighbourly tenants” are likely to do is eat my grass, or fly over in pretty formations.
Or lie in the aforementioned grass awaiting a small crane to come and right him. (He is a VERY heavy Buddha.)
So I’m off to lie down too…
Ian Andrew is the author of the alternative history novel A Time To Every Purpose, the detective thrillers Face Value and Flight Path and the Little Book of Silly Rhymes & Odd Verses. All are available in e-book and paperback. Follow him on social media: